FAMILIES stepped back in time on Saturday to experience the wonders of Christmas during the 19th century.

Whitchurch Silk Mill hosted a Victorian Christmas for visitors to take home a slice of the festive season from yesteryear.

Children made sweet-smelling orange and cinnamon garlands, and orange pomander balls alongside traditional sweetie Christmas crackers re-creating gifts that the mill’s past workers would have exchanged with colleagues.

How mill workers would have celebrated with Christmas tea was also explored, alongside recipe ideas for plum pudding, singing Christmas carols around a lantern and post-Victorian Christmas cards.

Activities coordinator Zoë Umpleby said: “We had a lovely day welcoming local families and showing them the lighter side to Victorian mill life over the Christmas period – our wonderful volunteers joined in dressing up in period costume which really helped set the scene.”

According to the Whitchurch Silk Mill, Christmas was not considered to be a holiday for many industries over the festive period. Many of the mill workers in Whitchurch would not have been allowed to holiday on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Some however were invited to a Christmas tea in the National School room of Whitchurch in December 1859.

A new exhibition called Whitchurch Voices opens on January 12, looking at what it was like to work at the mill in the past.

To find out more go to whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk.